IMPROVING children's ability to read and write has been the focus of many Wee County schools receiving just under £1milion in Pupil Equity Funding (PEF).

A report to be tabled at Clackmannanshire Council's People Committee tomorrow (Thursday, May 16) will highlight how government money, given directly to headteachers, is being used to close the poverty-related attainment gap and improve the lives and grades of the most disadvantaged local children.

The funding is part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge and is allocated to schools based on the number of children in receipt of free school meals with £1,200 per pupil.

Lornshill Academy, and feed-in primary schools within its cluster, have been focusing on improving their approaches to family engagement, said to be a key factor in improving the future prospects of young people.

At the same time, all primaries grouped under Lornshill, including Abercromby and Clackmannan for instance, have been enhancing their resources and used the funding to deliver targeted interventions as part of support programmes.

According to one unnamed headteacher in the report, which councillors will debate tomorrow, there has already been a significant impact.

They said: "Of the 14 pupils identified for reading intervention eight have increased by two reading levels as measured by running records."

Another added: "Attainment data shows that pupils are making progress including one child who has made two years eight months progress in reading in nine months."

Banchory Primary, which received the largest share with £104,760, has created libraries in classes, literacy as well as literacy comprehension boxes, full of supplementary materials that help children understand text at various levels.

Literacy interventions were the focus of the Hillfoots Cluster as well, which includes Alva Academy and nearby primaries.

All schools worked together to create a joint initiative with a four-year plan with two learning assistants working to identify individuals and small groups in need of support.

The report to be tabled at Kilncraigs said: "For example, in one primary school, where work was focused in Primary 2, children made an average reading gain of two years over a seven month period.

"Across the cluster pupils' attitudes to reading have also shown improvement.

"As well as the impact on pupils this work has led to a culture change within the cluster where headteachers have embraced collaborative working sharing data and resources and planning together."